Champny’s Fireworks in Bow is a family-owned business that has pyrotechnics of every shape and size.
Deborah Colby, the owner of Champny’s Fireworks in Bow, stands in front of a TV display of fireworks, giving her customers a preview of what they buy. Lissa and Jessica Dubois of Hopkinton huddle close to the screen, transfixed.
"These are really cool," they say.
How many fireworks do they want to buy?
"Like 20," Lissa says.
"More than that!" Jessica says.
It would be easy to want many more than 20 fireworks, especially with items like "The Poopy Puppy" firework for sale.
"It…well you can see here, you can position it to sit on the ground, you light the fuse, and well…you can see the rest," Colby says. The little plastic puppy squats, and makes a firework.
There are also plastic chickens that lay eggs, blooming sunflowers with flames for petals, and mini motorcycles that shoot firey exhaust. And that’s just the small stuff.
I request a demonstration—you know, for radio's sake. We step across the street to a private field, and watch them go up.
That was a 200 gram aerial cake, which is powerful enough that sometimes it can lift off the ground and tip over.
"That’s why we strongly recommend people put bricks or blocks on the sides," Colby says.
Colby says public safety is the most important part of her job. Not everybody knows how to shoot off fireworks, and they can be dangerous. Back in the store, Colby gives all of her customers a complete list of instructions.
"It’s very important to us that people know how to use these things properly. Even when they tell me they’ve done them before, I say, you may have just been lucky. I’m going to make sure you’re safe this time."
Champny’s Fireworks also provides information on local firework ordinances and bans. In New Hampshire, you can only set off fireworks on private property, and rules vary from town to town.
As for the Colby family, they are planning a big show at their house. Colby’s daughter, Christiana, also works in the shop.
"It’s kind of a tradition that we have to do something," Christiana says. "Something awesome has to happen on the 4th of July."
And as a family who owns a fireworks shop, she says, it would be a crime now to blow something up.